Charles K. Armstrong, Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences at Columbia University, wrote the June 11, 2018 East Asia Forum article “Thinking Beyond Denuclearisation at the Trump–Kim Summit.” Professor Armstrong provides analysis on why the scheduled Trump-Kim Summit meeting may offer an opportunity to restructure the security environment in Northeast Asia and end the state of conflict between the United States and North Korea.
“For North Korea the greatest threat to its existence is a hostile United States,” Professor Armstrong writes. “North Korea may or may not be able to hit Washington with a nuclear-tipped ICBM. But there is no doubt that the United States could demolish North Korea in minutes with nuclear weapons stationed in the Pacific. North Korea has lived under the continuous threat of nuclear destruction longer than any other country on earth, but Pyongyang has said repeatedly that it would be willing to abandon its nuclear program if the United States dropped its ‘hostile policy’ toward North Korea. This would require a fundamental change in the nature of America’s relations with North Korea and a move away from the system of division and confrontation within which the United States has dealt with Korea since the two Korean regimes were founded in 1948. We may finally be on the verge of such a change, or we may not, but North Korean denuclearisation can only work within the context of this broader systemic change.”
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